continuation from the previous blog entry
One may ask, how I rationalize small class sizes with culling 4,000 schools? I said it should be done progressively with a plan, say 10 years. Do not forget Education is not a short term matter. We are paying a heavy price for some of the mistakes in the past decade and half. There is no issue with reducing class size of some of the schools put up for closure, but only go as far as O level classes where equipment and teaching can be improved without too much cost. Then the basics up to O levels can be taught. These schools are losing students so class size reduction is already happening. It is teachers of quality that are lacking.
Today, the one period set aside daily in every class in Sri Lanka for teaching English is wasted as most classes DO NOT have English teachers. English and IT training is a must, but despite the Govt. emphasis, has not got off the ground. This simply is due to a lack of qualified teaching staff. I don’t wish to belabor the point about English, when the President is talks of a trilingual nation. but this need of the hour is a separate project in training 5000+ teachers first by teaching them English and then teaching them how to teach students followed by IT, without any delay.
The Education Department then has to be overhauled by first identifying the objectives of teaching and restructuring the department to facilitate this objective, rather than the reverse that is happening. Political interference in schools via people in the department, as far as transfers and appointments are concerned deprives the students of consistent quality in their schools. The grading of the capability of teachers, and their suitability for the courses they teach is a very sensitive subject. Teachers are highly emotional people, the best of whom believe they are providing a service to the community with little reward either in kind or acknowledgement. The country is full of dedicated teachers toiling with little appreciation. That too has to change if the vocation is to attract the best in the business.
In summary it is obvious that the emphasis has to be on training new teachers and retraining the existing teaching cadre if we are to gain any inroads in the technology hub we propose to become. The best facilities are useless if we do not have the proper manpower to maintain and develop them. This is not on a politicians priority as there are no kickbacks for training the best to be the best.
If one makes the above proposal to the Minister, he would agree with you, but say he is not allocated the funds to carry out this activity, as the allocation seems exclusively for the benefit of people with last name Rajapkse. I therefore contend that it is incumbent upon the line ministries, if they are to avoid criticism to stand up for their needs and fight for sufficient funds to be allocated.
This series of suggestions is now finished.